What does being a Viking mean to you?
J: To me, being a Viking is not just someone from a certain geographical location, or a historical figure, but more symbolic of a state of mind and way of living. I was born and raised in Minnesota and my family is from Norway;, so the idea of the Viking resonates with us and is some thing that we hold onto because it is part of our heritage. Historically, Vikings were known as this tough group of conquerors and I feel there are certain strengths we can still glean from them today. Being a Viking is about conquering life by being everything you were meant to be and not letting anything hold you back no matter how difficult. This world, while beautiful, can be equally unfair and tough. It’s about navigating through life’s rocky waters in order to see the beauty and remembering that beauty is there and it’s worth all the risk. And that’s what I think a Viking is to me. When life’s difficulties get to be too overwhelming, I remember that I came from a strong group of people who sacrificed and risked everything for their families and the life they wanted, and because I’m a Viking I’m equally as capable.
It looks like you do a lot of traveling. Tell us about your adventures.
J: I’ve been traveling ever since I was younger because it was instilled in us at a young age from my grandmother who has been all over the world.
I’ve been all over North and Central America from all the way up in the Arctic Circle doing a polar bear expedition in Canada down to snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been to almost every state in the continental United States, 30+ national parks, hiked the narrows of Zion, and climbed various 14,000 ft + mountains in Colorado, Utah, and California.
I started traveling overseas in 2018, when I visited Iceland. Absolutely beautiful country and amazing people. Had to come back in 2019 after healing from my broken neck.
Just a few things I did when in Iceland:
-Completed the ring road, visited the blue lagoon, Hiking, glacier walks and stopping at the Einstok brewery in Akureyri.
– Climbed multiple mountains including hjorleifshaugur, Hvannadalshnukur, and Vatnajokull glacier
– Traveled to the small villages of Vik, and Hofn,
-Went whale watching in Husavik, and all the way to the east fjords.
Wow, that’s very impressive! Tell us about your first experience tasting Einstök. What made you a fan?
J: We were in the small fishing town of Grundarfjorour, Iceland. We stopped by a restaurant and I had ordered their fresh cod. A friend of mine talked to me earlier in the year about a popular beer I had to try (Einstok) and as I was sitting there I noticed they had Einstok on tap. I ordered the White Ale and was immediately hooked. The food was great, but the beer was fantastic. It was crisp, smooth, and easy drinking. Definitely a beer perfect for any occasion (after hikes, fishing excursions, lounging at the beach, or whatever). It instantly became a beer that I wanted to have as a go to. After having my first Einstok beer, I had to have more. So every place we went I would order one. Every flavor from the White Ale to the Pale Ale and all the way to the dark. They were all just so good.
Being in the United States, it can be hard to find, but with some research I have been able to find it. I’m hoping the popularity of Einstok beer continues to grow in the United States so it easier to find.
Tell us about some challenges you faced in 2020 and what helped you overcome them.
J: I think the biggest challenge that I faced was one that almost everyone faced; just the uncertainty of what was to come and charting the new territory of life during a pandemic. Everything that we seemingly took for granted like our health, the health of our loved ones, our jobs, and even something like a simple vacation, all suddenly weren’t guaranteed anymore. No one knows what the future holds, but when all of life suddenly is upended at the same time, it can be very difficult not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow. I think what helped me get through these difficulties is just learning to focus and re-direct that focus onto something I can control no matter how small. I worked when I could (we had rolling layoffs throughout the company I work for) and focused on my health, and physical training so I would be prepared the next time I traveled again when restrictions were lifted. It is important to be aware of what is going on in our current situation, but we can’t lose sight of the future without a pandemic and the hope that comes along with it.
What adventures and treks do you have planned for 2021?
J: I plan on being back in the mountains of Colorado where I hope to reach the summit of MT Albert in summer 2021 and will be trekking my way through Norway with hopefully another stop in Iceland come Fall 2021.
The best is yet to come in 2021, fellow Vikings!
Live, travel, and conquer!